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Coventry

Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 5 April 1977

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Q3.

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Coventry.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we are disappointed by that reply because we were hoping to compliment him on his first year as Prime Minister and to look forward to at least two more years? Will he make clear when he next comes to Coventry that the Government are fully committed to an expanding British Leyland, which includes the new Mini project, and will he and his colleagues, as a matter of urgency, get the release of the capital funds that we need, not only for the motor industry but for the industrial performance of the country generally?

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. I take it that when he referred to another two years in office he meant another two years in this Parliament and a further five years afterwards. I should not want there to be any misunderstanding about that among the Opposition.

The Labour Government saved British Leyland against the votes of the Opposition and gave an opportunity for the workpeople there, at all levels, to prove that they could produce the goods. It is up to them. A review of projects is going on and I hope that, by their own efforts and work and by the absence of strikes, the workpeople will give the Government confidence to carry on with their additional subventions.

The Prime Minister talks about democracy, but what makes him think that the answer given by the people in his humiliating by-election defeats is wrong and that he is right and that he should stay in office? Had he better not go, and go now?

The people may well be right. They often are. But at the moment, so long as we command a majority in this House, it is our responsibility to conduct affairs as we think right in the interests of the country. We shall continue to do this, and in the end the people may come to see this. I hope this is so.